Excerpted from Complete Kicking by Sang H. Kim
Roundhouse kick is the most versatile kick for both competition and self-defense. For competition, it is safe, effective and powerful for striking low, middle, and high targets. For self-defense, it is useful for striking the knee, groin, and stomach. It is most effective when used in combination with punches, elbow strikes and knee kicks.
However, there are some common errors that make the roundhouse kick less powerful, accurate or fast. The next time you practice roundhouse kick, check for these common mistakes:
MISTAKE 1: The most common error when executing roundhouse kick is incomplete rotation of the hip.
SOLUTION: For maximum power, rotate your body fully to align your hip, head and feet, and to put your body weight into your kick.
ROUNDHOUSE KICK FORM DRILL
To improve your kicking form and ensure proper rotation in your kicks, practice roundhouse kick holding a support. Start with your back to the wall and your kicking foot in the rear. Pivot so your hip faces the wall and your chest is parallel to the wall.
Standing close to the wall will prevent your from over-rotating your hips or knees and from hunching your upper body forward. Finally, extend your kicking leg and hold briefly. Your body (chest, hips, kicking leg) should be parallel to the wall when your kick is fully extended.
MISTAKE 2: Over-rotation of the body during and after kicking.
SOLUTION: It can be easy to over-rotate your body in an effort to make your kick more powerful, but power comes from speed and the snap of your hips, not from turning your upper body, so focus on these instead.
ROUNDHOUSE KICK POWER DRILL
The heavy bag is an excellent tool for developing power. Here are examples of heavy bag kicking drills:
- 3 sets of 15 kicks with each leg at normal power and speed.
- Be sure you’re fully warmed up, then kick as high as you can 20 times on each side.
- Kick as fast and as powerfully as you can to a middle level target, alternating legs for 50 kicks on each side.
MISTAKE 3: Kicking in a wide arc.
SOLUTION: Bring your knee up straight at the target and then pivot tightly. Avoid letting your leg swing wide; instead snap it at the target.
ROUNDHOUSE KICK PRECISION DRILL
Ideally, you should develop precision from the start of the learning process. A good way to do this is to always have a specific target for each kick. You can use a hand target held by a partner, a ball suspended on a string or a heavy bag. When you practice with the heavy bag, mark it with tape (as shown) so you do not fall into the habit of randomly kicking the bag. Whether you are training for precision with slow controlled kicks or you are working on power and speed, stay disciplined and try to hit your target every time.
BOTTOM LINE: Keep your opponent in sight at all times; kick fast and forcefully; re-chamber your leg as quickly as you can.
- Uncommitted kicking
- Premature kicking (bad timing)
- Tilting your head
- Over-rotating your body
- Kicking in a wide arc
- Kicking at the wrong distance (too close to opponent
- Keep your head straight.
- Tuck your chin down.
- Rotate your hip fully.
- Move your arms naturally around your body for balance and power.